Carol Patterson’s Reinventure is a collection of stories about the adventures she has experienced while leading tours and traveling around the world with her husband and friends. While her stories are often amusing her intention to relate her anecdotal escapades to the promise of her subtitle—“How Travel Adventure Can Change Your Life”—is never quite fulfilled.
Some of the author’s stories like those of plans gone awry accidents and mishaps transportation hitches bungled reservations and a few ghost appearances will produce only shrugs from truly experienced travelers; these occurrences are quite common. Experienced wilderness trekkers will shake their heads in disbelief at some of the risks taken and tenderfoot mistakes made such as disregarding predictable dangers or failing to plan for the worst.
Of course not all travel adventures are predictable. She once visited the Gomantong Cave in northeast Borneo which is inhabited by large numbers of birds and bats: “I entered the cave gagging on the ammonia-fumes of bat guano…and feeling my feet sliding on the accumulated droppings…the ground was alive with thousands of cockroaches. I wish I hadn’t looked.” Saat a tour guide helped Carol Patterson through the caves without incident and she learned a lesson from this unpleasant trip: “It may be necessary to endure a little unpleasantness keep your mouth shut risk falling on your rear and wade through some ‘droppings.’ However if you hold true to your vision you will be rewarded.”
Part of the reason that people take trips is to find the unexpected even if it is uncomfortable and to test their own ability to make the best of a situation. Patterson tries to make this point but she does not link the test of one’s skills and adaptability to her theme of “changing your life.” People do travel to learn about themselves their companions and new people from new places—but as her book progresses the anecdotes become increasingly less meaningful in that regard.
At the same time from the beginning of her book to the end Patterson finds many opportunities to describe her tourism business her conferences and teaching about travel and the guides on her Reinventure Web site.
All in all the book contains some interesting and funny tales but there is little to seriously assist anyone in “re-inventing” themselves except to claim that simply traveling almost anywhere far or near will accomplish that transcendent experience. Patterson’s own travel of course has changed her life—into that of a travel entrepreneur.